A New Year

Well, another year has come and gone. Hope everyone had a good one.
With 2018 upon us, I’d thought I’d write up some updates on my writing and plans for the future. Continue reading

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“Collision”

This is another of my early works about a pile-up of protagonists with varying goals.
It’s a fantasy story—featuring an Elf, no less—and in a lot of ways was a precursor to Graylands. So readers should recognize certain characters and concepts that wound up getting used and incorporated in my books.


Donovan Moore was a man with an intangible quality about him. He was tall and thin, with shining white hair—but not elderly. There was great strength in his lanky frame and fearful power behind his eyes. As High Cleric of the Disciples of Moros, he was rarely seen in person—often delegating orders to subordinates or lower Clerics—but when he made his presence known, he had a talent for shrinking the will of even the strongest of those around him.

He sat in his lavish armchair, staring at the dagger in his hand, with a content and sly smirk on his narrow face. The handle of the dagger was pure silver, crafted into the shape of a horned serpent. The blade was dull gray, but pulsed with a faint red glow—enchanted for a divine purpose. As Moore listened to the crashing waves outside the tower window, he felt a surge of anticipation flow through his blood.

It wouldn’t be long now.

“Cleric Moore,” said one of his followers, entering the chamber. “The Great Tail is visible and will be before the moon shortly.”

“And the Princess?”

“Still unconscious.”

“Wake her and get her ready,” he said, putting on his ceremonial garb. “Tell the guards to remain on high alert.”

The subordinate bowed and left as Moore walked to the window, closing his gold and maroon robes. The last trace of sun disappeared over the horizon, and high above, a fat, yellow moon shined like a glowing eye. In the distance, the comet known as the Great Tail approached—soon to pass the moon, an event that only occurred every thousand years.

Looking at the comet, he gripped the dagger tight. When the Great Tail eclipsed the moon, its blade would pierce Princess Anna’s heart, and with the sacrifice of royal blood, Moros, the Final Dragon, would rise again and cleanse the world in his mighty fire. And from the ashes, the Disciples—led by High Cleric Moore of course—would build a new, perfect society.

With a satisfied smile, he set to make the final preparations. The presence of the Great Tail lit the night to a deep, red hue like early evening and made the ocean like blood. Despite the violent waves, there was an expectant hush like before a great storm.

Taking one last look at the approaching comet, Moore deemed it a fitting atmosphere to herald the coming of a god. Continue reading

Commentary: Krutch Leeroy

Oh, crumbs.

Once, Krutch Leeroy was nobody.

He was born and raised in Elmlocke, a small country in the Western Empire of the Realm, and lived an uneventful life of relative ease. His father, Krutch Sr., was a carpenter by trade and a rugged man who enjoyed the outdoors. His mother, Mari, was a respected teacher, and his older brother, Carson, was a strong and athletic young man, popular among the townsfolk.

Young Krutch, on the other hand, had little to claim to his name. He preferred to keep to himself, favoring the comfort of indoors as opposed to outside. If he did go out, he stayed in town or the nearby city—having no interest in the wilderness. Unlike his father and brother, he was not particularly strong, athletic, or physically active. Although educated thanks to his mother, his wits were not sharp or very quick.

Aside from a talent for drawing, it could be said there was nothing worth noting about the young Krutch Leeroy Jr. He was loved by his family, and no one would say they didn’t like him, but the truth was, Krutch was regarded as an unexceptional and forgettable individual. Continue reading

Commentary: Katrina Lamont

What happens to the ‘chosen ones’ when they aren’t so ‘chosen’ anymore?

Katrina Selene Lamont was born the only child of Brandon and Diana Lamont, the King of Queen of Vigor. The Kingdom of Vigor was once the most beautiful and powerful in all the Realm, acting as a balance of power between the Two Empires and leader of the world. The Lamont Royal Family had ruled in prosperity for centuries—their bloodline said to go back to the Seraphim.

Tragically, shortly after Katrina was born, the throne was usurped by the renegade general, Armand Tyrell. Aligning himself with dark powers, including a legion of orcs, he overthrew the King and Queen and declared himself ruler, enacting a brutal purge of the royal line. Thanks to the efforts of some still loyal to the Lamonts, the infant Katrina was smuggled from the capital city to safety.

His rule secure, Tyrell began a despotic reign that saw the once prosperous kingdom fall into decay and corruption. However, although believed to have been killed in Tyrell’s takeover, a prophecy foretold of the day when the Princess would return to reclaim the throne, destroy the usurper, and avenge her family. She would then restore Vigor to its former glory and lead the kingdom to a new golden age. Continue reading

Literary Titan Book Award & Interview

In addition to a great review, Literary Titan (formerly Hungry Monster) gave The Jinxed Pirate a Gold Award for this month, which is pretty awesome. 

He also offered questions for an interview
(spoilers ahead)

The Jinxed Pirate has a delightful cast of characters from the mercenary to the tragic warrior princess with a splash of other-worldly beings as well. How did you set about creating such a colorful cast of characters?
I enjoy playing with tropes and conventions usually found in genre stories, and I guess most of my characters came about from just asking questions. Not necessarily looking to deconstruct, but seeing what can happen if a story or character zigged where it might normally zag in a more traditional telling.
What happens if a hero, who’s been led to believe she is the Chosen One, ultimately discovers her destiny meant absolutely nothing? What if the proverbial “Hero’s Journey” ended, not with a great triumph or even a bang, but a fizzle? To exist in a world where there really is tangible, objective “pure evil” … for one thing, just how surreal would that be, but also how would people define their morality in the face of it? And in such a world, where demonic creatures just ARE evil, what if one somehow turned out to be a decent, kind-hearted person? We’ve seen plenty of roguish scoundrels who love a good fight … but wouldn’t something have to be severely wrong with such a person to get that much enjoyment from violence?
I also like mixing tropes or concepts from different genres and seeing how they gel or clash. For example, even though he doesn’t actually appear in The Jinxed Pirate, the Enforcer is essentially a slasher-movie villain thrown into a fantasy adventure. I like seeing what can happen when varying genres intermingle.
Once I start thinking about these question, several characters start to take shape, and then it’s a matter of throwing them all together and taking them to their logical—or absurd, or surreal, or horrific—conclusion. Continue reading

Kirkus Review of “The Jinxed Pirate”

“Two protagonists struggle against power-hungry tyrants and their own cursed natures in this sequel.

“The Graylands is a constellation of lawless towns, strewn between the Two Empires, which are waging war with each other. Katrina Lamont, an alcoholic and former Chosen One, drifts from one dismal watering hole to the next, hoping to smother memories of losing her kingdom, Vigor, 10 years ago. But the specter of Jagger Ryggs, thief and love of her life, persists. Pirate Krutch Leeroy, meanwhile, is a mild-mannered drifter cursed as a youth by a sorceress who mistook him for a great warrior. Thanks to her spellwork, the pirate’s name is whispered throughout the Graylands with fear and respect. After sleeping off yet another night of trouble that only a pirate lord can find, he awakes at a mission and meets the vivacious, adventure-starved Audra Fay. Elsewhere in the Graylands are the wealthy Synclaire siblings, Deck, Lock, and Cassie. They left Vigor when the savage Armand Tyrell took power. Can any of these personalities resist the pull of Seba, a city crawling with human—and goblin—filth run by war profiteer Sebastian Clock, who hunts for a gauntlet enchanted with dark magic? In this second trip through the Graylands, Walsh (The Ghost Princess, 2015) takes readers on the scenic route through a hellish fusion of Tolkien and HBO’s Deadwood. And despite the potential for overwrought battles among orcs, wizards, and succubi (Lily Blackthorn makes a welcome return), the author proves that character is king. Katrina’s desire to find Vigorian survivors—or any kindred spirit—is heartbreaking. Likewise, Krutch’s epiphany that ‘maybe it was time he stopped running and made his curse his power’ is as thrilling as most sword fights. That said, the action is superb (‘the fat man was split open where his neck met his right shoulder. His head curved to the side with a baffled look on his face’). Fans of the first novel should expect a more leisurely plot that widens the physical and emotional scopes of Walsh’s dusty realm.

“An action-packed, phantasmagoric tavern crawl.”

Kirkus Reviews

 

Continue reading

Literary Titan Review of “The Jinxed Pirate”

Just got my first review for The Jinxed Pirate by Literary Titan Book Review:

“Adventures like these don’t come very often. Riddled with intrigue and building up a world The Jinxed Pirate by M. Walsh is a definite read. We have a delightful cast of characters from the mercenary to the tragic warrior princess with a splash of other-worldly beings as well. All of their lives and paths will come together in an excellent adventure where you might find yourself rooting for the bad-guy without realizing it. Each character is on a journey of sorts and where it leads them is anything short of ordinary. What happens when the warrior princess can’t save her people? What about the mercenary who doesn’t seem all that interested in what he’s doing? Our title character himself even seems to shift his shape depending on what his needs are. The carnal animal driven only by his desires. These all come together with fantastic story-telling and riveting action to create a beast of a tale. Continue reading

“Intervention”

Here we have a tale of an individual offering an unorthodox justification for his vices.
I can see this story not being for everyone, given its abrasive protagonist and his (or her..?) cavalier attitude toward addiction, but I hope it isn’t taken that seriously.


Okay, right off the bat: NO, I don’t have a problem.

Yes, maybe I drink a little more than the average bear. But am I not entitled? Life’s a bitch, and sometimes I need to unwind. Besides, I know when to stop. I know my tolerance level. When I was still working, I never let it affect me. Sure, I might have snuck a beer or swig of something harder here and there, but despite what my jackass supervisor said, it never affected my work.

Working at a movie theater wasn’t exactly brain surgery.

And yes, I’ll admit I do partake in drugs sometimes. But I am not an addict. I can say no or stop anytime I want. I don’t because I have it under control. And again, I never let it interfere with my job. I wasn’t stupid enough to try sneaking blasts of coke while I was working—my boss was making up stories and exaggerating. He never liked me and was always looking for an excuse to lay me off.

What? Well, yeah, I’ve been doing coke a little more than usual, but I’m not working right now. Excuse me for indulging. I told you: it’s not an addiction. The reason I do it as often as I do—which really isn’t that often—is because I know I can stop anytime. If I thought I couldn’t control it, I would stop.

What’s so hard to understand about that?

Okay, here we go—I knew this was coming.

Yes, I was drunk and on drugs that night. And yes, I had a little something to do with the fire. But it is not what you think. I was not trying to get back at them for firing me. I’m not stupid—you really think if I wanted revenge on the theater, I would do something as crazy as burning down the place?

Of course not! Believe it or not—unlike some people maybe—I am remarkably lucid when I’m fucked up. Do you have any idea how many times I’ve driven coked out of my mind and gotten home without a scratch on the car? How is that a problem?!

No one’s bothered to ask me my side of the story. I’ll be happy to tell you why I had to start that fire. In fact, you people should be thanking me. Yeah! You should be on your knees thanking me—not just for torching the movie theater—but for even being able to handle my narcotics the way I do.

Why? Because if I couldn’t handle myself, this whole town … screw that, maybe even the whole planet would’ve been doomed! Don’t look at me like I’m crazy. If it wasn’t for me, and the fact I was tripping balls on coke, every one of you would’ve been replaced by aliens.

Yeah, I said it. Continue reading

“The Jinxed Pirate” Now Available

Here we go…the next chapter in the Graylands saga is up for sale.

Being dead inside isn’t for everyone…
bookcover2
Graylands is where people go when they don’t want to be found.
Within this unsettled country of drifters and outlaws is a city where the worst of the worst gather. A place of thieves, brigands, and murderers known as Seba. In Seba, law is an illusion and order is kept through cruelty and bloodshed.

On the run from Sentry Elite and bounty hunters, supposed pirate Krutch Leeroy finds himself in this bloody city where his infamous reputation garners him the attention of Seba’s various feuding powers. Despite his efforts to lay low, Krutch is soon caught in the center of backstabbing schemes and deadly plots.
Meanwhile, after the disaster on the Blind Cliffs, fallen princess Katrina Lamont finds herself nearing rock bottom. Her drinking and temper worse than ever, she sets out on a desperate quest to find what remains of her people. Her journey will also lead her to Seba, where she will tread the line between salvation and damnation.

Amidst this are the Synclaires—a family just moved to Graylands in the hope of a fresh start. However, chance of fate and rash decisions will draw the family into a sinister plot that threatens to bring tragedy and doom to their door.
As Krutch, Katrina, and the Synclaires face threats from all sides, they will each unwittingly find themselves caught in a battle that may destroy the delicate balance keeping Seba from consuming itself in chaos.

Paperback copies are $16.95 (plus shipping) and can be purchased on Amazon and Createspace.
It is also available on Kindle for $2.99

Hope you enjoy.